Vitamins and minerals are vital for your child and assist in protection and functioning of the body. The type of foods chosen should be suitable to your baby’s age and stage of development. Below are general examples of foods rich in these vitamins and minerals:
Iron is a vital mineral to be included in your baby’s diet. It is required for brain growth and development. Red meat, chicken, green leafy vegetables and whole grains provide iron. Absorption of iron is increased if consumed with foods rich in vitamin C, so try and include vegetables or fruits with these meals.
For more on the importance of iron, see Iron Deficiency.
Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. The primary sources include dairy foods such as yoghurt, as well as green leafy vegetables.
Zinc is important in immune function, cell growth and repair. Found in fish, poultry, soya beans, red meat, cereals and dairy products.
Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant in the body. It also keeps the skin and eyes healthy. It is found in eggs, liver and dark green and orange veggies.
B group vitamins assist the body to release energy from the proteins, fats and carbs we eat. These are found in peas, beans, cereal, eggs, cheese, meat, fish and chicken.
Vitamin C helps with the body’s defence against infection and keeps bones healthy. Eating foods containing vitamin C helps iron to be absorbed into the body. Sources include fruits, capsicum and broccoli.
Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium into bones. The action of sunlight on the skin and fortified margarine, eggs and fish are good sources.
For more on the importance of Vitamin D, see Vitamin D Deficiency.
It’s also important to consider macronutrients. For more on this, see Nutrition – Macronutrients.